Steve J. Bernas
School of Continuing and Professional Studies Commencement Address
President and CEO, Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Inc.
Steve J. Bernas (BS ’87) is president and chief executive officer for the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Inc., and the president of the Better Business Bureau Educational Foundation. Over his 28-year career, he has mediated thousands of consumer and business-to-business disputes and undergone extensive training in Alternative Dispute Resolution conflict resolution.
Bernas is responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management of the Better Business Bureau. He works with the board of directors to establish its vision and drives revenue and impact for the organization. In conjunction with the board, he will build and implement a strategic plan that supports the bureau's mission. The bureau is a significant distributor of consumer and business education, information, and alerts about marketplace scams. It sets and upholds high standards for ethical marketplace behavior and is a valuable resource for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.
Bernas continues to be actively involved with a multitude of trade associations in developing and executing programs that encourage and enable best practices in the marketplace. A widely acknowledged and sought-after expert in consumer confidence issues, scams, customer/business relations and self-regulatory initiatives, he is regularly seen on local and national TV and quoted in newspapers and magazines on a myriad of consumer and business issues.
Bernas received his BS in psychology from Loyola University Chicago and currently serves on the Illinois Attorney General's Automobile Advertising Review and the Attorney General Charitable Trust Committee, as well as the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Fraud Task Force. He is on the board of directors of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association and is a past member of the board of advisors for Archbishop Quigley Seminary High School.
In 2013, Bernas received the distinguished FBI Directors Community Leadership Award in Washington, DC, the top civilian FBI honor. In 2015, he received the prestigious Damen Award from Loyola.